Saturday, December 31, 2011

God-Truths I Have Learned Through Adoption

We returned last night from our seventeen day journey through China to adopt Rae Michelle Dear (formerly Yang Rui).  It was a memorable trip, no major issues.  We are thankful to be home and we are so very thankful for Rae.  I know the journey has really only just begun, and there is much for me to learn, but I wanted to share a few thoughts that came to me as I was pondering the events of the last week or so while flying home yesterday.  Already, through being Rae’s earthly father for about ten days, I have learned some important truths about my heavenly Father.

#1:  God loves me more than I know!  We have had some difficult days with Rae, especially in the beginning.  Everything we did to try to help her, whether it was getting her to take a bath, brush her teeth, or stop jumping on the bed was because we loved her and wanted what was best for her.  But she didn't understand that.  Our actions didn't seem like love from her perspective.  She often stubbornly rejected our warnings and instructions.  If only she could understand how much we love her and how everything we say or do is an expression of that love.  That makes me think… How often does the same situation happen between the heavenly Father and me, his adopted son?  How often do I reject His warnings and instructions because on some level I foolishly question His love?

#2:  There is a better way to live!  Rae doesn't understand how much better life will be.  She has been living in poverty.  She has been living without the benefit of a family.  She hasn't had proper medical care.  Her future as a special needs child in the orphan system in China was very bleak.  I know there is no guarantee her life will now be a bed of roses, but she will at least have her basic needs met, she will have a loving family, she will have good medical care, and she will have the hope of a great future.  But she just doesn't understand.  The institutional life of the orphanage is all she knows.  She cannot comprehend what 'better' even is.  She has no idea what she has missed out on.  That makes me think…  Is the same thing true when I push against the life my heavenly Father wants me to live?  I am afraid that too often I wrongly think my life of selfishness and sin is the best life for me.  I wonder what I am missing out on.

#3:  I can never comprehend the depth of God’s love and the cost of the cross!  Rae doesn't understand the sacrifice her family made to adopt her and bring her to America.  She has no idea.  She has no comprehension of what a thousand dollars is, much less many thousands of dollars.  And not only was there a financial sacrifice but the major lifestyle change that comes with adding a new six-year-old to a family that is just beginning to enjoy the fruits of maturing children.  She understands none of this, nor could she understand if we tried to explain it.  That makes me think… How much do I really comprehend about the price the Lord paid to make my adoption as His son possible?  I claim to have some understanding of the cross, the agony, and the shame that Jesus faced, but do I really?  Or is it beyond my ability to understand just as our family’s sacrifice is beyond Rae’s ability to understand?

#4:  My salvation does not correlate with my merit!  Rae doesn't understand the significance and the value of her being chosen out of so many orphans in China and around the world.  There is a better biblical word for this, but it could be said that she is pretty LUCKY.  She was not chosen because of any merit of her own.  She was not chosen because she had something to offer.  She wasn't chosen because of her parents, her intelligence, her goodness, her beauty, or any other human measurement of worthwhileness.  She was simply chosen by the providence of God.  Only a handful of orphans get the chance that she has been given.  That makes me think… The most valuable thing I have is my relationship with God.  I am reminded of Ephesians 1:4-5 which says, “He chose [me] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [I] should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined [me] to adoption as [a] son … according to the good pleasure of His will.”  Not because of any merit, but simply because of his grace, I am blessed beyond measure with salvation!  The Lord convicted me; I responded to His working; He saved me by His grace.

#5:  I need to better accept the Lord’s help!  Maybe it is due to her institutional life for the last several years, but Rae is fiercely independent.  She doesn't want me to help her with anything.  There have been so many times in the last few days that I could have been such a blessing to her if she would have just let me help.  I have watched her carry around a banana for an hour while being terribly hungry but refusing to let me help her peel it.  As I am writing this we are in an airplane somewhere over Canada.  She is trying to play a video game but can't get it to work because she is starting at the wrong spot.  She refuses to let me help.  She is angry because she can't get it to work.  The solution is sitting next to her and it would take less than five seconds, but she wants to be independent.  That makes me think…  I wonder how frustrating it must be for the Lord when I insist on doing things my own way instead of leaning on His word and wisdom.  I wonder how sad He must be when he sees me struggle in life when help is only a prayer away.

#6:  The God of the universe takes pleasure in me when I honor Him!  Rae has no idea about the pleasure and joy she brings to her new parents.  Even on the most difficult days, we have rejoiced over her.  The simple times when she has looked at me and said, "Xie xie babba" (thank you daddy) when I have done the smallest favors for her have set my heart ablaze with joy.  That makes me think… I often forget (and I am sure I have never really understood) how the heavenly Father takes pleasure in me and my praise and worship of Him.

I could go on, and I probably will in the days to come.  But for now I am enjoying my new daughter for the joy she brings and the lessons she teaches!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

It All Begins Tomorrow

As I write this it is 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.  Looking out my hotel window, it appears that Beijing is asleep.  Me and my friend, Jetlag, are answering a few emails and pondering what is going to happen tomorrow.  There have been some big events in my life, and I have even been privileged enough to check-off a few bucket list items through the years, but somehow tomorrow seems like a bigger deal than anything I have ever done before.

Twenty-six years ago, I accepted Christ as my Savior.  Of course, that has to be the most significant thing that has ever happened to me.  I remember people telling me way back then that it wouldn’t last, and I feared they were correct.  However, as it turns out, that was real, and the Lord is real, and by his grace, he has stuck with me for a very long time.  I was married sixteen years ago.  That was a big change, and a good one, and a lasting one.  Donna and I have been blessed with two children (the biological way), and of course those were life-changers.  And there have been some other big events through the years that have stretched me and my family.  I think of leaving engineering school to go into the ministry.  I think of leaving the familiarity of the South and moving to Ohio.  But somehow, what is going to happen tomorrow seems bigger than all of that.

I suppose it has something to do with pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, or maybe it is the factor of the unknown, or maybe it is the fact that once done, this cannot be undone, but tomorrow feels like the biggest step in my life.

This isn’t the biggest step because I am fearful.  I believe the Lord has been preparing my family for this for a long time.  I am blessed with a very strong marriage and two godly daughters who I know are willing to make the sacrifices this adoption may require.  I have exceptionally good friends and a wonderful church family standing behind me.  I know there could be some hard days ahead, but I am ready for the challenge.

This isn’t the biggest step because of any hesitation or doubt.  I think I have always known I would adopt.  Years ago the motivation was for reasons too personal to write in this blog, but for the last twenty years it has been something I just felt like would happen.  Through this eighteen-month adoption-paperwork-pregnancy there have been many questions.  There have been questions about special needs, domestic versus international, and questions about finances.  But never have we questioned the fact that we should adopt.

This isn’t the biggest step because of the words of the critics.  I have learned that if you are going to do anything important in life, there will be critics.  People have told us that we are squandering our money.  People have told us that we are being unfair to our first two daughters.  People have told us that we are ruining the American economy by bringing foreigners to the land.  None of those kinds of comments have done anything but cause us to loose respect for some really selfish people.

I believe this feels like the biggest step in my life because I am convinced that somehow my life is intersecting with the Kingdom of God.  As I write that, I am not even sure what it means, but I believe it just the same.
James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote that real religion consists of three things.  One of those three is taking care of orphans.  I know there is much more to the Christian life than orphan-care and there are many other significant ways to serve the Lord, but James’ list does give real insight to the heart of the Father.  James isn’t the only Bible writer that speaks of adoption.  Paul talks about believers eagerly waiting for the day when they will receive their full inheritance as adopted sons of God.  He writes of how the Father adopted us out of sin and suffering and has given us new hope and new life.  So, the first one to choose to adopt was none other than God himself.  (I wonder if he had to fill out the stacks of paperwork we had to complete.)

I don’t know today if my adopted daughter, Rui, is ‘eagerly waiting,’ as the apostle Paul describes or not.  I have no idea if she has any idea of how her life is about to change.  (I wonder if she is lying wide-awake in the middle of the night right now, like her new dad, wondering what tomorrow holds.)  But I do know this:  God, in His wisdom and sovereignty, has chosen a little girl, living in the squalor of poverty and hopelessness in a pagan country, and he has seen fit to put her in a family where she will hear the gospel and among friends and in a church that will show her the love of Christ.  And I know that whatever God is up to in her life and around the world, He has chosen to let me be a part of that… and it begins tomorrow.

Noel Dear

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Email

We send out an email each week to those on our church email list.  Occasionally we post these emails to this blog just as a reminder that if you are not on the list and would like to be, just send us an email (

FBC Heath Logo
525 S 30th St -- Heath, OH -- 43056 -- 740.522.5245 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Church Family,

I hope you enjoyed "Exotic Animal Week" here in central Ohio!  I know the Bible says there is nothing new under the sun, but we came close last week with our lions, tigers, and bears.  It has been a week to remember.

Last Sunday was a memorable day as well.  We had a great crowd and a sweet spirit.  I have heard so many comments this week about decisions made.  Praise the Lord for His goodness.

Last week we wrapped up our nine week series of messages on "Knowing the Real Jesus" from the gospel of Mark.  This week we begin something new with a series titled:

I'm All In!

We are going to talk about what it means to be "all in" with the Lord.  This is going to be a little different than what we usually do.  I am very excited about what I believe the Lord will accomplish in and through us these next five weeks.

If you want to read ahead, we will be focusing on John 6:5-14 and Mark 6:32-44 this first Sunday.

Of course, the times are as usual:  Connect Groups (Sunday School) at 9:30 and our morning worship at 10:45.  I love you and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.

Pastor Noel

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sunday Preview! (9.11.2011)

FBC Heath Logo
525 S 30th St -- Heath, OH -- 43056 -- 740.522.5245 

From the Pastor's Desk

It has been a short but busy week in the church office, but it has been good.   Just some of what has been taking place…
  • This was the first week back in AWANA, our Wednesday children’s ministry.
  • We kicked off our new Mom’s Day Out program this week.  It is called Tuesday School.
  • We have been getting ready for the Beth Moore Simulcast that happens Saturday.  We have had to stop selling tickets at 200 because of a capacity crowd.
  • We are gearing up for our new Connect Groups to start on Sunday.  A ton of brand new adult groups will begin this week!
We are really looking forward to this Sunday.  As we continue to focus on “The Real Jesus” in our Sunday morning message series, I will be preaching this week from Mark 2:1-12.  I have preached on this passage a number of times, but as I studied for the message this week, the Lord showed me a completely different direction to go.  The passage speaks to the one need that everyone has.  We struggle and strive for many things that will not ultimately bring any joy or peace to life, but if we can seek after this one thing, then we will find satisfaction.

In our service, we will also spend a little time remembering what happened on this day ten years ago.  Do you remember where you were when the buildings came down on 9/11?

I hope you will join us for one of our small groups this Sunday.  All of the groups are starting over this week so this will be a great week to jump in.  The groups all begin at 9:30.  If you haven’t signed up for a group, that is fine.
Just come a little early to the main foyer outside the worship center.  There will be people there to help you and your family all find the perfect group.

Below the line are a few announcements I encourage you to read through.

I love you and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday in worship.

Pastor Noel


  •  This Sunday night we will be worshipping the Lord by taking the Lord’s Supper.  The service begins at 6:00 p.m.
  •  If you know of someone who would like to receive one of these weekly emails, ask them to send their name and email address to
  •  Children’s Choir starts back this Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m.
  • The long standing Men’s Thursday Night Bible Study begins back this coming week (9/15) at 6:30 p.m.
  • The next New Member’s Class will be Wednesday, September 21 at 6:30 p.m.  Email ( or call 740-522-5245 if you would like to attend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

John the Baptist Outlines

To my regular readers... The file below is for submission in a grad school class I am taking.  It is posted here for others in the class to download.  Read at your own risk :).

John the Baptist - Outlines - First Draft

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Theology 101 -- The Word of God

Theology 101 — The Word of God
Sundays at 6:00 p.m.
July 31, August 7, 14, 21

Are you ready to go to the next level in your understanding of God and His word?  Do you sometimes struggle to understand how all of the pieces of Bible truth fit together?  Would you like to be better able to lead a class, teach your children, or answer a friend's questions about the Bible?

We have what you need!

On August 1, we will begin a series of messages taking a deep look at the theology of the Bible.  In the beginning, we will spend four weeks focusing on the doctrine of the Word of God.  Following these four weeks we will begin to walk through the other doctrines of Scripture like the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Christ and the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of eternal punishment, and so forth.  It will likely take about one year to cover all of the major doctrines, especially since we will do these in bite size pieces of four to six weeks each.

Each week, we will pass out notes formatted for a three-ring binder.  We will make audio CD's and spiral bound notes available at the end of each doctrine study (four to six weeks).  We will also have available for purchase a recommended resource for further study ("Systematic Theology" by Wayne Grudem, $28.00).  Binders, CD's, and books will all be available in our bookstore.

To keep things interesting, there will be an opportunity to submit questions via texting pertaining to the focus of each lesson while the pastor is teaching.  At the end of the worship service each night, the pastor will expand his teachings and try to answer the pertinent questions.  Also, a take-home test will be provided at the end of each doctrine study so you can see just how much you have learned.

Join us for this study which we trust will be enlightening, informative, and fun!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Prep for Tomorrow

Tomorrow's message outline is printed in the bulletin, and Carla did the projection slides for me yesterday, but I need today to polish things up a bit.  So it is a study day.

I will be preaching on the Six Actions of a Healthy Family from Ephesians 5:22-25; 6:1-4.   I am really looking forward to sharing this on Mother's Day.

I ran across an illustration in my reading today that is way too corny to use in a message, but some of you will enjoy.  Here it is:

Recipe For Child Raising
 1 cup of Proverbs 22:6
 2 Tablespoons of Proverbs 19:13
 1 Dash of Proverbs 23:13
 1 Teaspoon of Proverbs 3:5
 1/2 cup of Titus 2:3 through 7
 Mix all the ingredients, add a pound of persistence, one cup of love, and whip until right consistency. This recipe is recommended by the Creator of Mankind.
 Please add a pinch of Ephesians 6:4

(I will list the Scripture verses below.)

So now I am going to sit out on the deck, and obey 1 Timothy 4:13, "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."  I'm reading "The Fulfilled Family" by John MacArthur.  Good book.  You can purchase it from Amazon.  (Soon, when our construction is complete, we will have books like this that relate to Sunday's messages for sale in our bookstore each week.)

Remember, our new Connect Group semester begins tomorrow.  If you haven't yet signed up for a group, just come a little early, and you can get signed up at the main welcome center in the worship center foyer.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Pastor Noel


Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 19:13 - A foolish son is the ruin of his father, And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.
Proverbs 23:13 - Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
Titus 2:3 - the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—
Ephesians 6:4 - And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Help for Tornado Victims in Alabama and Mississippi

I spoke with several pastors last night who are helping with the effort to assist and minister to victims of the tornados that tore through the south this week. The stories are heartbreaking. One pastor told me of finding a family digging through the rubble of their home to desperately find enough pieces of clothing to be able to dress their kids. Another pastor told me of the death of a man who laid over his kids to protect them from flying debris.

I told these pastors that our church family will want to help. I have pledged that we would stand with them in any way we could as they seek to meet needs in the name of Christ and minister to these hurting families.

I hesitate to do this via a blog because at FBC Heath we never ask for money from those outside our church, but let me give an appeal to our members and regular attenders. If you would like to help with this, above your regular giving, you can go to our church website and give electronically (by credit/debit card or by ACH from a bank account) or you can call the church office today and someone will assist you with electronic giving. We will also provide an opportunity for people to give in our services this Sunday.

I will share more with everyone on Sunday. Keep these churches in your prayers as they reach out.

Pastor Noel

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Ready For Easter 2011

Here is a letter I just emailed to our church family.  In case you aren't on our email list...

 Dear FBC Heath Family,

We are very excited about Easter 2011.  This is the best time of the year for believers to worship and honor the Lord!  Let me highlight two events designed to help us do that.

Secret Church

Secret Church will be an event like none you have experienced before.  It will take place on Friday (4/22) night.  We will gather in the worship center and watch a simulcast along with tens of thousands of others accross the country as Dr. David Platt teaches about the crucifixion and the resurrection.  This event begins at 7:00 p.m. and goes until 1:00 a.m. the next morning.  It will be intense.  It will be educational.  It will be inspiring!

Read one of my recent blog posts for more details (click here).

If you are planning to attend, please let us know in one of these four ways:
Easter Services

On Easter day we will have services at 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m..  These services will be identical so join us for whichever is most convienent for your family.

Invite your friends and family to join us.  This is such an important day and you have such a good opportunity to encourage people who might not ordinarily come to join us.  I hope you will take this opportunity.

Our focus this Easter will be on the ressurrection, as usual, but maybe from a little different angle.  We will be asking the question:  What if you only had FIFTY DAYS TO LIVE?

Most of us, if we knew we only had fifty days to live would live very differently.  We would squeeze all the life we could out of those days.  We would strive to make those days the best days of our lives.  So… What keeps us from living like that now?

This Easter and in the weeks to follow, we will learn the answer to that question, and we will learn how we can live our lives the the fullest.  This will be a life changing opportunity for everyone who attends.

Here are some ideas for how you can invite your friends, co-workers, and neighbors:
  • Invite them to the FBC Heath Easter Service facebook event (click here).
  • Ask friends and family the question, "What would you do if you only had fifty days to live?"  Share with them that we will be focusing on that this Easter Sunday.
  • Let your friends and family know we have two different service times for their convienence.
  • Stop by the church and pick up a handfull of invitation cards.  Hand them out to those you see and those in your neighborhood.
  • Pray specifically for six people you would like to invite.  Then call them up and see if they will join you.
You can think of many more ways.  The important thing is to not wait too late.  This is going to be a great day.  I hope to see you and your friends and family there!

(To keep up with new information the week of easter, visit our church facebook page and click 'like'.  That will put our updates on your newsfeed.)

Pastor Noel

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is something we look forward to every year.  It is one of the very best weeks of the year in our ministry because we get to minister to so many children and families.  This year VBS is going to be a little different.  First, the date.  Due to the construction going on at the church and some other scheduling priorities, we have decided to do it much later in the summer.  Our dates this year will be Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5.  Not only does this avoid some facility and scheduling conflicts, but we believe the timing will give us a great push into the next school year.

Another change is our mission/outreach emphasis this year.  A few weeks ago in a meeting with pastor Wally and Christine, we made some block party arrangements for a couple of places in Heath where there are a ton of children and young families we would love to reach.  Those events will happen the week prior to VBS.  (The dates are still pending because we have to get approval from the city.)  These will be great times for us to draw some young families out to large outdoor parties and get their kids registered for VBS.

Our prayer is that through these two events and our annual VBS bus route that we will be able to utilize both busses to accommodate all the kids.  Wouldn’t that be a great first!

We have decided to do VBS this year in the evening.  That is a difficult decision.  Originally, when we set up the block parties, we were planning to do a noon to three schedule.  There are pro’s and con’s with each of the possible time slots.  It’s not an obvious decision.  The biggest problem with the evening is workers.  Last year in the morning we had about 65 workers, the most we’ve ever had.  (Several people even took a week’s vacation to work last year.)  To do an evening VBS with our block party focus, it is going to require at least 110 workers.  In order to make sure we can handle things safely, we will be asking workers to make commitments in the next couple of months, and we will have to limit the number of kids we can register based on the number of workers we have.  So it so important that everyone gets on board quickly.  We will need many people to serve this year who haven’t traditionally been VBS workers.  This is going to need to be a whole church effort.

I am excited.  I believe these block parties are going to help us reach many kids who have never been a part of our VBS or any of our other ministries before.  I believe this is going to be a great step into our fall ministries.  I believe we will see lives changed and changed for eternity.  What a great way to break in our new children’s ministry facility!

The first organizational meeting is this Sunday (4.3) at 4:30 in Harmon Hall.  Join the team now, it will be the best thing you do this summer!

Pastor Noel

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good Friday - Secret Church

On Friday, April 22, we will have SECRET CHURCH!

I have been looking forward to this for weeks.  This will be a life-changing, God-honoring event.

So, you are thinking, "What in the world is SECRET CHURCH?"  Good question.

Several years ago, a large church in Birmingham, Alabama began to have marathon Bible study nights that they called "SECRET CHURCH".  The name came from the secret church in China that often meets late at night and often all night long.  As the people in this Birmingham church (The Church at Brook Hills) would meet and study the Bible, they would also pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ in the underground church in China and other places around the world where Christians have to meet in secret.

This SECRET CHURCH event has taken on a life of its own over the years, largely because of the incredible preacher/teacher, David Platt.  Dr. Platt is probably one of the top two or three Bible teachers today.  He has a way of taking very complicated truths and making them clear and easily understood.

I have eagerly waited for and listened to audios of most of the past SECRET CHURCH sessions and I have done this for years.  I grow so much from this concentrated Bible study.

So what makes this different from any other Bible study?  Another good question.

One thing is simply the gifted teaching from such an effective communicator as David Platt, but there is another reason this teaching is so valuable.  In each SECRET CHURCH event, David teaches everything the Bible says about the topic of the night.  This is a complete study.  How does he do that?  How can he be so thorough?  Well, are you sitting down?  Then, I'll tell you:  He teaches for six hours straight!  Well maybe not straight, there are a few breaks, but SECRET CHURCH immerses you into the Bible as you study the chosen topic with an exhaustive and in-depth study.  This is exhaustive but not exhausting.  In fact, to attend one of the actual SECRET CHURCH events which they host at a very large venue, you have to get tickets months in advance.  This is an incredible experience.

So on Good Friday, the day that commemorates the crucifixion of Christ, we are going to broadcast a live simulcast of this year's SECRET CHURCH event from the Church at Brook Hills.

David will take about six hours and teach everything you ever wanted to know about the crucifixion of Christ.  Here is the official description of the topic:

Crucifixion, Salvation, and the Glory of God - From cover to cover in Scripture, God’s grand design is to display His glory in the salvation of sinners. The climax of this redemptive plan is the cross of Christ, where God pours out His wrath due sin upon His Son so that we might receive His mercy. But how is Christ’s work on the cross applied to our lives? In the words of the Philippian jailer, “What must we do to be saved?” During this Secret Church, we will explore how the Bible answers this question as we consider God’s love, Christ’s atonement, and the Christian’s conversion, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and eventual glorification. In the end, we will find ourselves boasting only in the cross of Christ, through which we have received the grace of God and by which we now live for the glory of God. 

 This will be a great night.

Here is how the logistics will work:

The event begins at 7:00 p.m.  Adults and youth will be in the worship center.  We will have study guides for everyone so you can follow along and take notes.  The teaching will go until around 1:00 a.m.. There will be breaks through-out the night at which time we will have snacks and refreshments.  There is no cost for the event.  The books cost us $7, so we will collect an offering at some point in the night to help defray some of that cost.  If we collect more than is needed, we will send the rest to be used to support the underground church in China.

Childcare will be provided for children from kindergarten to fifth grade.  There will be no cost for the child care.  We ask that parents secure there own arrangements for children younger than that.

Much more information coming soon.  Mark this date, though, on your calendar.  Let this Easter season be one with a very strong focus on Christ.  Let this event be the cornerstone of that!

Pastor Noel 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do You Take Advice Well?

How are you at taking advice?  In preparation for a Bible Study, I looked for all of the verses in Proverbs that say something about taking advice from people.  Take a poke through these... (I included both the New King James and the New Living Translation.  For me, I love reading Proverbs out of these two side by side.)

He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, But he who refuses correction goes astray.

People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.

Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.

He who despises the word will be destroyed, But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.

People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.

The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.

The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death.

Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.

Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die.

Whoever abandons the right path will be severely disciplined; whoever hates correction will die.

A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, Nor will he go to the wise.

Mockers hate to be corrected, so they stay away from the wise.

Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.

Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.

He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.

A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.

Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge.

Plans are established by counsel; By wise counsel wage war.

Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.

5 A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; 6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

5 The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. 6 So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.

11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. 12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.

11 Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. 12 To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.

 Pastor Noel

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who Needs You?

One of the best pictures of intercessory prayer is found in the historical account of a battle between the nation of Israel and the Amalekites in Exodus 17.  In this battle, the victory hinged on God working through the steadfastness of Moses' prayers.

Read this...

     While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them.Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”  
     So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill.As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.  (Exodus 17:8–13 NLT)

So here are the questions I believe the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart this morning as I studied this passage:
  • Who is counting on me to pray?
  • Are there people in the battle of life that are struggling at least in part because I have not been faithful to pray for them as I should? (Or maybe a gentler way to ask the question would be:  Are there people in whose life God would be doing a greater work if I were more faithful to pray?)
  • How faithful am I in praying for others?
  • Who should I be praying for that I have not been praying for?
Everyone is a Moses to someone.  Who is counting on you?

Pastor Noel

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New PM Series -- The Lord's Supper

I am looking forward to this Sunday night's worship.  We will begin a new study series focused on the Lord's Supper.  The plan is to spend three weeks studying everything the Bible teaches about this very important type of worship.  A study like this maybe doesn't sound as exciting as some others like, "Spiritual Warfare" or "End Times Prophecy", but the truths we will uncover in this study are just as valuable to our walk and our worship.

So here is a rough outline of what is coming...

Week 1 (3.13)  -- The First Lord's Supper
  • The Setting
  • The Elements
  • The Meaning of the Supper
  • The Instructions To Repeat
  • The Controversies
    • Transubstantiation
    • Consubstantiation
    • Memorialism

Week 2 (3.20) --  How The Lord's Supper Was Practiced
  • The First Church
  • The Corinthian Church
  • The Love Feast
  • The Error
  • How to Properly Prepare For and Partake In the Lord's Supper

Week 3 (3.27) -- Celebration
  • Questions & Answers
  • A Unique Celebration of the Lord's Supper

There is a 50-50 chance we won't get this done in three weeks, but that is the goal.  If you want to read ahead, review these passages...
  • Mark 14:22-25
  • Matthew 26:26-29
  • Luke 22:17-20
  • 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Pastor Noel

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Memorizing Scripture

While studying this morning, I read a sermon preached by John Piper on January 5, 1997 where he talked about memorizing verses of Scripture.  I thought this paragraph was especially helpful:

You Can Do It -- You may doubt that you can do this, especially if you are older. But ask yourself this question, If I offered you $1,000 for every verse you memorized in the next week, how many do you think you could memorize? Yet God says of his word in Psalm 19:10–11, “They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” The real value of the word is far greater than $1,000 a verse. The question is, Do you believe this? Believing this will be the crucial motivation you need.  [Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1990-1999). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.]

Something to think about!

Pastor Noel

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Some Of The Reasons I'm Excited About Today

Here are some of the reasons I am excited about today...

***Worship this morning. We get to exalt our Lord.

***We will hear a testimony this morning of a family in our church who chose the path of faithfulness and discovered the blessings of the Lord.

***New message series starts today: How Smart Are You?

***Tonight for the first time, the junior high youth group will be leading the service. The junior high youth band has been practicing for this for weeks. It will be a great night.

***Tonight, following the service is the official meet and greet for the Pletcher's and their three new adopted children from the Ukraine.

***I have a leadership meeting today for final approval of the drawings and budget for the construction of our new preschool facility. Groundbreaking will be next week.

***I have a deacon's meeting today where we will be discussing a new Sunday night series that will begin on March 13 and culminate on March 27 with a very special evening for our church.

***I have a worship pastor search team meeting today where we will be praying about a very serious candidate for church.

That is just a start. I haven't spoken with Pastor Wally, but we probably have baptisms this morning... We will be promoting our New Member class today which already had a ton of people signed up... The preschoolers are working on something special that the church will see next week...

Don't miss this morning!

Pastor Noel

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bible Verses We Like To Hate

I know, that is an odd title for a blog post, but as I was studying this morning for an upcoming project, I kept running across these verses that made me squirm. I thought perhaps I should share them with you. They may make you squirm now, but if obeyed, they will make you rejoice later.

… Proverbs 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;

… Romans 12:17 (NLT) Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

… 1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

… 1 Peter 3:9 (NLT) Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

… Proverbs 20:22 (NIV) Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.

Pastor Noel

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Benefits of Obeying God's Word

In studying for an upcoming message this morning, I was reading through some different kinds of topical Bibles.  I ran across this article in one of them.  It encouraged me and I thought I would share it...

Benefits of Obeying God’s Word

Psalm 119:2 promises blessings for obeying God’s Word (or “testimonies”) and seeking the Lord with one’s whole heart. The psalm goes on to mention or allude to a number of these benefits:

  • Avoiding sin and pursuing godliness (Ps. 119:3, 11, 36, 102, 133).
  • A motivation and basis for praising God (Ps. 119:7, 171).
  • A pure lifestyle (Ps. 119:9).
  • Readjustments in our priorities (Ps. 119:14, 92) and values (Ps. 119:16, 20, 37, 48, 72, 103, 111, 127).\
  • Insight into our purpose on earth (Ps. 119:19, 32, 125).
  • Avoiding and learning from God’s rebuke (Ps. 119:21–22, 67, 71, 75, 118).
  • A basis for evaluating criticism and opposition (Ps. 119:23, 41–42, 51, 61, 69, 84–88, 98, 161).
  • A source of wisdom and guidance for day-to-day life (119:24, 66, 105, 130, 176).
  • Encouragement, hope, and comfort (Ps. 119:25, 28, 41, 49–50, 52, 55, 61, 81–83, 114, 166). 
  • Something valuable with which to occupy our minds (Ps. 119:27, 55, 62, 97, 147–148) and conversation (119:46, 164, 172). 
  • A basis for truth, honesty, and integrity (Ps. 119:29–30, 99–100, 104, 163). 
  • A sense of freedom (Ps. 119:45). 
  • A source of new songs (Ps. 119:54). 
  • An accurate basis for self-examination (Ps. 119:59). 
  • Fellowship with like-minded believers (Ps. 119:63, 79). 
  • A solid foundation for our faith (Ps. 119:66, 89–90). 
  • Protection and peace (Ps. 119:114, 165). 
  • The ability to discern right from wrong (Ps. 119:136, 138–139, 158). 
  • A motivation and basis for prayer (Ps. 119:169–170). 
  • The Lord’s help (Ps. 119:173–174).

Pastor Noel

Article from:  Thomas Nelson Publishers. (2001). What does the Bible say about... The ultimate A to Z resource fully illustrated. Nelson's A to Z series (280–281). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Audio Books

I enjoy listening to many audio books.  In fact, just today I finished "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile Vs. The Third Reich".  An excellent book about a great theologian I knew very little about before, but now am very inspired by.  (I know that was poor grammar.)

Today I ran across a free audio book of a great book I read a few weeks ago:  Adopted for Life by Russell Moore.  If you would like to listen to this book, you can download it for free here.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  You may be challenged and convicted, but not disappointed.

Pastor Noel

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Weekend and other Miscellaneous bits...

I'm looking forward to the weekend. (And not because it's Super Bowl weekend.) Today is my birthday, so what I've asked for is... a family night. It will be a good night at home. I have a suspicion that my wife is cooking some of her ought-to-be famous shrimp and grits, and Emily is cooking me a made-from-scratch cheesecake. We will probably play a game or maybe watch "Secretariat". I have a little bit of a surprise for them, maybe.

This morning started off bad/good. In my quiet time this morning I prayed for Bill Helms, a godly older man in our church. I knew he was close to passing away. I felt the Lord remind me during my prayer time that If Bill died today, he was going to have a much better weekend than me. His wife called about an hour later to share with me that he had just passed.

Tomorrow, Donna and I are going to go out, something we rarely do on Saturdays. For Christmas I had purchased cooking classes for her. That was the one thing I knew she needed least but would enjoy the most. So that is our date tomorrow, taking a cooking class together. Ironically, Jeff and Angela Salyer are going with us. Angela is the second least likely person in the world to need cooking classes. It will be interesting. Maybe Donna and Angela can just teach the class. Jeff and I can handle the eating.

I've been mum on my sermon focus this Sunday because this is going to be one of those difficult messages, but it is important, and I am ready to preach it. It's messages like these that will have the least positive-feedback, but perhaps the most significant impact.

We've got some new church members coming over for lunch Sunday and maybe also some prospects. Still mulling over my Super Bowl plans...

It will be a great weekend!


The Pletchers, some friends who have been in Ukraine for the past two months trying to adopt three little kids, finally return to Ohio tonight. I think they are scheduled to land at CMH at 10:15 p.m.. I can't wait to meet their new children!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Proverbs on Parenting

In preparation for my Connect Group this week (we are studying the book of Proverbs), I went through Proverbs and pulled out all of the verses that dealt with parenting in some fashion or another.

Look through this list... How much better off would we all be if this became the guiding influence in how we raised our children?

Pastor Noel


Proverbs on Parenting

Parents Have A Responsibility to Correct their Children

… Proverbs 1:8–9 8 My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

… Proverbs 13:1 A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.

… Proverbs 13:24 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

… Proverbs 15:5 Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise.

… Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.

… Proverbs 22:15 A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.

… Proverbs 23:13–14 13 Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. 14 Physical discipline may well save them from death.

… Proverbs 29:15 To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.

… Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.

Parents Have A Responsibility to Live a Wise Life as an Example

… Proverbs 5:1–2 1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. 2 Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.

… Proverbs 11:21 Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.

Parents Have A Responsibility to Teach their Children

… Proverbs 6:20–22 20 My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you.

… Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

… Proverbs 31:1 The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.

Proverbs for the Children

… Proverbs 1:8–9 8 My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

… Proverbs 5:1–2 1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. 2 Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.

… Proverbs 6:20–22 20 My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you.

… Proverbs 8:32–33 32 “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.

… Proverbs 13:1 A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.

… Proverbs 15:5 Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise.

… Proverbs 19:26 Children who mistreat their father or chase away their mother are an embarrassment and a public disgrace.

… Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.

… Proverbs 23:24 The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.

… Proverbs 23:25 So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.

… Proverbs 28:24 Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.

… Proverbs 30:17 The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.


… Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon: A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother.

… Proverbs 13:22 Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.

… Proverbs 15:20 Sensible children bring joy to their father; foolish children despise their mother.

... Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.

… Proverbs 17:21 It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for the father of a rebel.

… Proverbs 17:25 Foolish children bring grief to their father and bitterness to the one who gave them birth.

… Proverbs 19:13 A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping.

… Proverbs 30:11 Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother.

… Proverbs 31:28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: